Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for January 2, 2013

All of the following puppies will be euthanized on Friday in the pre-dawn hours unless they are rescued or adopted by late Thursday night. For more information, or to adopt or rescue, contact: Lisa Hester at 770-441-0329 or by email to [email protected]. You can click on a picture to go to their descriptions on Facebook.

MurrayYellowBlackLabs

These three lab puppies are available for adoption today from the Murray County Animal Shelter in Chatsworth, Georgia, and transportation is available to Metro Atlanta or similar distance.

MurrayHoundPuppies

I’d be willing to bet money (if I were a betting man) that there’s a hound dog in the recent ancestry of these six puppies, age seven weeks, and available for adoption today from Murray County Animal Shelter.

MurrayLittleMama

I’m calling this one “Little Mama” because she’s a fifteen pound chihuahua mix with three sweet little seven-week old puppies, who weigh about two pounds each. From the markings, I’d guess the pups are going to be larger than mama.

MurrayLabMixesBrindleBlackThese little pups are about ten weeks old and weigh about eight pounds each. The black one would probably be described as a Lab if you didn’t know he had a brindle sibling.

If you think you’d like to adopt or foster one of these dogs, I urge you to get in touch via the information at the top as soon as possible.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

Friday is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the Special Elections in Senate District 21 and House District 21, but if it were me, I’d go vote early. Otherwise you’re relying on the swiftness of your county elections board and the United States Postal Service.

On January 8, 2013, three State Senate Districts will see Special Elections: the 21st District formerly held by Sen. Chip Rogers, the 11th, which was held by Sen. John Bulloch, and the 30th, formerly held by Sen. Bill Hamrick and contested by Republican nominee Mike Dugan and Librarian Libertarian James Camp.

Former Senator Hugh Gillis, who served in both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly for a total of fifty-six years, including a 42-year stretch in the Senate, has died.

Also dying this weekend were any shreds of self-respect the voters of Clayton County may have had as Victor Hill straps on his badge as the new old Sheriff in town.

Clayton County voters returned Hill to office after they had turned him out in 2008, ending a four-year term that was controversial and sometimes attracted national news coverage. Eight years ago, Hill started his first term as sheriff by firing 27 employees and having them escorted off Clayton County Jail property as snipers were posted on the roof. They won a federal lawsuit, were reinstated and were awarded $7 million.

Hill claimed almost 54 percent of the vote in last summer’s primary race against Kem Kimbrough, who defeated Hill in 2008. He then took 76 percent of the vote in the November election in which his only opposition was a write-in candidate, Kimbrough’s chief deputy Garland Watkins.

Hill and his lawyers have insisted the criminal case was politically motivated, noting that it began after he announced he was a candidate.

A probate court judge quietly administered his oath of office on Dec. 13.

Despite the election, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association has insisted Hill should be suspended to spare the office any turmoil a criminal case brings. Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, president of the association, asked the governor weeks ago to begin the process of determining if Hill should be suspended so a decision would be made by the time he took office Tuesday. Sills said the association received no response.

“He cannot make an arrest nor can he execute or participate in the execution of a search warrant,” Sills said. “And I don’t think he can buy a firearm. The arrest power is the primal authority of any police officer.

“He has the ability to suspend himself,” Sills said. “He should step aside and take all this controversy away. If he’s not guilty, he’s going to be sheriff. He’s perpetuating a cloud over the office of sheriff.”

The indictment, the product of a special grand jury investigation, accuses Hill of using county resources to take vacations and to buy personal items. It also says he assigned employees to work on his 2008 re-election campaign and a charity event during work hours. He is accused of classifying one employee as absent due to sickness so she could accompany him out of town.

The Gwinnett County Commission will meet tomorrow to discuss the FY 2013 budget, which will come in at $1.3 billion.

Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson is seeking election among his peers as Mayor Pro Tem and says he has the votes to win.

Whoever thought you’d read a headline about ethics, horse racing and guns? In Georgia, I guess it was just a matter of time before the three were touted as major issues for the legislature in 2013.

Speaking of ethics, apparently Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) still thinks we need some.

Josh McKoon stops short of saying some of his best friends are lobbyists, but it might surprise you that this poster child for ethics reform thinks professional arm-twisters serve a purpose.

“I’m not trying to put anyone out of work,” he said. “They have a place in a part-time legislature. I’ve rarely had a circumstance where a lobbyist didn’t share both sides of an issue. My concern is where that exchange takes place.”

Those who believe McKoon is politically naïve or a wild-eyed issue geek don’t know him well. He’s a sophomore in the senate but he has dabbled in politics since he was at Brookstone School, and, before he turned 30, he took his hometown to court over promises for a park around the public library.

“When Republicans were in the minority, we talked about the need for ethical government. Now that we control the governor’s office and every Constitutional office, we’re working hard to deliver competent government. Ethics reform will help us provide honest government.”

He’s in a hurry, and the idea that he has personal political ambitions is not far-fetched — though that should not overshadow his convictions.

“They tell you when you get here to sit down, shut up and listen,” he said. “I do a fair amount of listening so one out of three ain’t bad.”

Of course, transit funding will be an issue for some folks to talk about during the Session, but I don’t expect it to get much traction or funding.

Maria Saporta thinks that relations between MARTA and MARTOC, the legislative committee that oversees the transit agency, are improving under new General Manager Keith Parker.

Pro-tip: if you want to have better relations with MARTOC and the Republicans who make up a majority under the Gold Dome, don’t spend $10k on “thought leadership” from liberals. Especially when their idea of leadership is bashing the Chairman of MARTOC.

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